Sounds, sights, and smells of the lockdown. Things apparent now that were not apparent before.
I hate that. Don’t you? No? Well, it’s a pet one of mine. People on Social Media ask a question, often an interesting and an engaging question, but then they round it off with their beloved one-word sentence. ‘Go’.
Well, I won’t ‘go’, thank you all the same.
What am I, some stable boy, poised on hands and knees, ready to sprint to the barn for another bag of shite as soon as the master says? Nuh huh, not me. If you want to know the answer to your great question, you can bloody sod off and figure it out for yourself, matey. I’m staying right here. Not ‘go'ing anywhere. No way…
So, yes, ignore the ‘Go’ which comprises the third sentence of this post. I only put it there to hopefully annoy you and demonstrate why people shouldn’t put ‘Go’ at the end of their tweets.
Ignore it. Just answer the question.
What are the most memorable sensory elements of a lockdown? What things assail you that never assailed you before?
If there’s a particular aroma that might evoke this period for me in times to come, I think it might be that of Wright’s Coal Tar soap. Back in the early days of all this, I had hand wash on my shopping list. We had some already because, guess what, we used to wash our hands a bit before this. We just needed a little more. But, as you’ll know, there wasn’t any hand wash to be had, it having gone the way of all toilet roll. So I bought a three pack of Coal Tar soap and, although the hand wash reappeared when we all got the measure of panic buying, I kept on with the bar of soap. Everyone else in the house went with the hand wash but I’ve been a Coal Tar man ever since. I love the smell of it. It’s got a no-nonsense, bricks and mortar bang off it that at least implies that it is killing everything it touches. I’m now down to the sliver of my final bar and I swirl it and swirl it around in my hands as it gets smaller and smaller every day. On that point, how far down a bar of soap should you go before you deem it useless? Go.
For a lockdown sight, I think I will remember the dusky little boy at the end of my street who seems to spend every hour of the sunny days on his little trampoline in the front garden. He has a tiny asthmatic pug who wheeze-barks every time we pass. We wave and smile at each other. The boy, not the dog. “Very sweet," you might say, "but perhaps not the most vibrant single vision to retain.” Very true but I haven’t told you the best part yet. The kid on the trampoline, always friendly and always happy, always wears a crash helmet.
For a sound, I’m sorry to be obvious, but it has to be the birds. There’s always been birds and I’ve always heard them but now they’re just a bigger part of my day. The raucousness of the little ones who come to nibble and bathe in my back yard is a joyous thing, for sure. But my favourite is a little bird of indeterminate species who sits on top of a scraggy tree at the side of the lane where we walk. He sings with such ferocity and pitch. Is he seeking a partner? Is he defending his own part of the lane? I haven’t a clue. But I think I will remember the level of output that such a tiny thing can make. There’s a lesson there somewhere.
I’d be interested to hear about the sights and sounds that you reckon you might take away from your time in social isolation. But I know you probably won’t tell me. We may be restricted but we’ve still got things to do, boxsets to watch, bread to bake. No time for lots of silly answers.
So, if you could just address the ‘bar of soap’ one, that’ll do.